Posted November 11, 2011 9:44 am by with 6 comments

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We are seeing more and more reports coming out about the involvement of B2B marketers in social media. That’s a very good sign and something that is necessary on many levels for marketing success in the future. Of course, with anything that is just getting traction in a particular space there are some hiccups.

eMarketer reports on a survey produced by the management consulting firm Accenture. The report is dated November 3 but the data comes from May of this year. First is a look at how B2B marketing executives see their level of engagement in social media.

Now one would expect marketing executives to say that they are involved in social media because that’s what all the cool kids are doing and there are now more and more rumblings from the C-suite in the vein of “Are we using The Twitter?”

What is most interesting about the findings is the next chart which shows some of changes that these executives see need to be made in order to more effectively use social media to their advantage.

Looking at any list of roadblocks to social media success that leads with “new tools and technology investments” should draw a serious red flag. In fact, looking at what is being concentrated on the most by these marketing executives looks almost “bass ackwards” to me.

If you perceive your issues in social media effectiveness to be about technology then you are likely concentrating in the wrong place. Looking at the basics of social media like Facebook, Twitter etc there is little technical need. Unless of course you are creating apps for platforms but the likelihood of that being a real B2B marketing need is not very high.

What gets the least amount of attention in this equation are two critical components which are greater collaboration across disciplines like sales, marketing and service and then a greater CEO conviction. These are two HUMAN elements that no technological advance can overcome and in fact technology, and the ability to “invest” in it (whatever that means to a social media marketer), have to be bought into by those who OK the expenditures ultimately like C level executives.

This is a classic case of putting tools over application of principles. The truth is that no matter how much you invest in the technology of social media it could all go for naught if the human elements like executive level buy in and cross discipline collaboration are not in place. These human elements should be the sole focus and primary needs of most marketers as it relates to social media. It’s not about the tools. It’s about the people, processes and principles that are applying the tools. There are companies that are “dressed to the nines” in the tech realm of social media but have no success while there are stories of individuals turning a single Twitter account into revenue saving and generating tools with just the right attitude and some time.

So what’s your take? Is social media more of a technology play or should that be secondary to the human side of the equation? Let us know.

  • ‘If you perceive your issues in social media effectiveness to be about technology then you are likely concentrating in the wrong place.”

    Agreed! It doesn’t matter what technology you are using to connect and engage with your target audience as long as you are connecting! Obviously there are more advanced tools available but who cares about that if you can’t have a conversation with your network?”

  • Whereas push advertising can be developed and distributed with a relatively small percentage of individuals at a firm, social media takes a larger, more cohesive effort between senior management, marketing, sales and support. I’m not sure most B2B marketers ready for that.

  • Absolutely, getting IT involved in a social media marketing campaign should only amount to asking for another computer monitor. This is marketing and communications. We develop websites for companies and associations. So many people refer to us as IT or computer guys. We are a digital marketing firm. I’m not sure why the fact that this stuff happens digitally automatically means that it is an IT issue to manage. IT professionals have plenty to worry about without being dragged into a conversation about marketing, even if it does involve technology. Sure, they will be needed at some point but not nearly at the level that most C level execs think. Great post!

  • Social Media is just a tool of communication. How any business or company uses that tool will make the difference in whether social media can help increase business revenue. Some companies out there already use Twitter to offer customer support and help existing customers on a day to day basis. They also use Twitter to help start and build relationships with new customers. In my view this is the best approach as people on social media sites never respond positively to anyone contacting them with a hard sales approach.

  • You have to have good technology to make sure that the people know what each other are doing and to help to assess the impact – good or bad. But like any marketing activity the ‘human’ element is absolutely crucial; the way you interact with customers, suppliers and others has to be thought through and the tone in which you deliver that interaction has to fit your brand values.

  • Also for an effective social media campaign it’s very necessary to know the market and its scope in the relevant services that is being provided by the internet marketers. The need of a proper marketing plan including the strategies target market and methods used to market are very important.